You readers who have access to a CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid are going to love this post. And if you don’t, you still can benefit.
Medical flexible spending accounts are a great way to save money on your medical expenses. I explained the rough details about FSAs in a previous post.
If you overestimated how much money to put in your account, you’ll have leftover money to spend. You must spend it, because if you don’t, you’ll lose it.
Fortunately, I have some solutions for those unspent dollars. Check the FSA terms to be sure of the exact items, but you can use your FSA card to buy certain medicines at your drug store. For my plan, I can buy:
Allergy & sinus products, antacids, antibiotics, aspirin/pain reliever, bandages, cold sore treatments, chest rubs, cold & flu medicine, contact lenses/lens cleaner, cough drops/lozenges, cough syrup, fertility things, nasal sprays, and more. Not vitamins, unfortunately. And not tampons, either. Grr.
Look at all that stuff you can buy with pre-tax dollars! Check the expiration dates for those products to make sure they’ll last a few years.
Here’s where you can put your CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid skills to the test.
In the monthly and weekly sales fliers, look for items you can buy with your FSA account that are free after rebate. For example, say Advil costs $4.99 at Rite Aid, and it’s free after store rebate. Use your FSA card on the initial purchase. Then, fill out the rebate information on Rite Aid’s web site. You’ll get a check for $4.99, have free medicine, and will use your FSA card’s pre-tax funds.
Since you don’t have to mail in your receipts for Rite Aid, you can just hang onto those in an envelope. Typically, FSA plans want you to keep all receipts for verification later on. For Walgreens, where you have to mail in your receipts, you can make photocopies of the receipt for your FSA records.
For CVS shoppers, using your FSA card for the Advil that generates $3 extra care bucks is also a great use of your money. You HAVE to spend the money, and you’re getting some money back by doing it.
Finally, stock up on whatever medicine you can use or donate.
If you have a FSA debit card, as I do, be sure that your purchases with it are ONLY the qualifying items. This means you should go shopping with a list of qualifying items, and you might have to do a separate transaction.
Be sure your FSA plan will allow you to stock up on over-the-counter goods. There may be a stipulation or limit on this.